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Do you feel confident enough to talk to your child about apprenticeships?

ApprenticeshipsGovernment and employers value apprenticeships highly, but a new survey reveals parents still fail to appreciate the value they offer to their childrenís future careers.

New research reveals that parents lack any real understanding about apprenticeships, particularly Higher Apprenticeships and underestimate the benefits and what they can offer to their children.

Nearly two thirds of parents couldnít explain them to their child, eight out of 10 do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree, and nearly three quarters misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship. 

Worryingly, old-fashioned misconceptions about apprenticeships still exist - nearly half believe they are geared more towards boys rather than girls. 32% believe they are only for those less academically able. The majority of parents were also surprised about the diverse range of apprenticeships available, as many believed they were only available in more manual orientated fields.  

Despite Governmentís aims, a third of parents do not believe they will become as normal for young people as going to university. More than half of parents were surprised to know that employers rated young people with Higher Apprenticeships as 25% more employable than graduates. Yet despite this positive feedback from employers, parents are failing to communicate this message to their children, preferring them to follow, what many now regard as the traditional University path.   

AAT, The Association of Accounting Technicians asked over 1000 netmums members what the most important factors to young people securing employment were:

Parents rated experience of a workplace environment (54 %) second only to good GCSE and A-Level exam results (56 %). However, a Higher Apprenticeship Ė which provides workplace experience and a professional qualification Ė was ranked a lowly eighth out of nine options, lagging behind extracurricular activities such as music lessons, volunteering and holiday jobs. 

Based on the report findings, the AAT is calling for the re-education of parents, so that apprenticeships are considered as viable first choice options, alongside University and academic qualifications.  

Joining us now answering our questions is Jane Scott Paul, OBE and Chief Executive of AAT.  The interview was hosted by Feven Iyassu.

What can be done to change parentsí perceptions about apprenticeships?  I think itís important that parents realise that apprenticeships are not the apprenticeships of old because they now offer access to a whole range of professions and occupations and I think the research that weíve done shows that a lot of parents are very uninformed about the options available now. I think I would urge all parents to take the trouble to just find out more and then theyíre in a better position to advise their children.

Does what parents think actually matter? How important do you think it is? Parents do have an influence although obviously for young people there are lots of other influences, teachers, their peers, but I think young people still look to their parents for guidance and support so they do have a very important role to play.

Do you think eventually parentsí perceptions about apprenticeships will change? I hope we will see it change because the government has said it wants to make apprenticeships the new norm, so it becomes an accepted route in the same way university is and I think if we look to our European neighbours if we look to Germany where the apprenticeship route stands alongside the university route on an equal footing, in Germany, youth unemployment is 7.5% whereas in the UK itís 19% and I think thatís an instructive statistic.

What do employers actually think about apprenticeships, do they take it as importantly as a degree? One of the findings in our research is that employers are really keen on recruiting apprentices. Our experience at the Association of Accounting Technicians is that employers are keen to find intelligent, bright, school leavers and recruit them because they offer a real return to the business. So employers are really positive and they actually, our research shows they would prefer a school leaver to a university graduate.

And would you say thatís across the board in different fields or in certain fields?No, that seems to be across the board as far as we can gather that positive response by employers.

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship as opposed to going by the university route?Well I think a key benefit is that apprentices are employed, theyíre doing a proper job. So the importance there is that theyíre getting their first step on the career ladder by working and I think we all know that for young people, just getting that first job is really hard because employers expect experience and if you havenít got experience you canít get a job so itís a really vicious cycles. So thatís the first thing, the second thing is that they get training for a real, good quality qualification, both on the job training, off the job training and the third thing obviously is theyíre earning while theyíre learning and I think thatís very beneficial because if you go to university, we know that students do struggle with the burden of debt that they have to take on, so I think that with apprentices, everything adds up.

At what age would you say parents should have that conversation about careers and what children want to do? I think itís important that people start quite young because children are very inquisitive, they want to know whatís going on, theyíre interested in what their father does, what their mother does, so they learn about work, they learn about the job that their parents are doing, their relatives are doing, so I think you can start the conversation really at any age, but obviously once young people are coming through school, theyíre starting to make their GCSE choices, itís important that as a parent you are well informed at that stage because you need to know what the options are and what possibilities are available because every parent wants to give their child support.

What advice would you give to parents who are struggling, perhaps with a child that doesnít really know what they want to do? There is a lot of advice out there, thatís the beauty of internet, thereís access to a lot of good advice and I think what a parent has to do is talk to their child and think about what aptitudes their child has, are they practical, are they academic, what sort of things are they interested in? Then go online and have a look at some of the options available to just open their childís eyes to possibilities and always give children encouragement to help them move on.

Where can people go for mo
re advice and information? Well if people want to know more about apprenticeships, an important source of advice is the national apprenticeships service and their website is www.apprenticeships.org.uk.


 

The findings from the Study

The research was carried out my AAT asking over 1000 Netmum members. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

National
63% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
81% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
68% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

East
67% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
84% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
75% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

London
67% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
82% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
74% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

West Midlands
63% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
77% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
60% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

East Midlands
68% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
85% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
67% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

North East
56% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
83% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
72% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

North West
57% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
80% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
67% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

Northern Ireland
69% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
77% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
9% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

Scotland
75% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
83% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
74% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

South East
63% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
81% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
67% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

South West
68% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
82% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
72% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

Wales
74% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
81% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
71% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

Yorkshire
45% of parents couldnít explain them to their child or donít know if they could.
82% do not know that a Higher Apprenticeship is the same level of qualification as a degree,
47% misjudged how much lifetime earnings are boosted by doing a Higher Apprenticeship compared to someone with no qualifications.

 

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